The Square Route

19/12/2013 - 14:18



The square format is rather an elegant shape for a landscape photograph. It cleverly draws our attention to the subject in a more direct way than the classic 3:2 ratio, or the often meandering journey within a panorama.



The eye seems to be drawn around the image in a more circular nature than in the rectangular formats.



('You can only come to the morning through the shadows' - Staverton Railway Station. Stitched HDR – from 3 sets of hand-held & rotational panned exposure bracketed RAWs in portrait format (each set at -1.5, 0.5, 2.5 ev) at f/8)



Some images can be cropped from a 3:2 format, though consideration needs to be given when composing of how it will look when cropped to square format.



(this was cropped from a 3:2 ratio image, but was from the outset compsoed to make a resulting square image)







Dartmoor pony on Holne Moor, Dartmoor National Park





Another option is to make two or three overlapping frames in ‘portrait’ format (i.e. the camera tilted through 90% on the tripod from the classic ‘landscape’ position) which will give you a larger format image, with only miniscule amounts of trimming to a square (in Photoshop or Lightroom). If the overlaps are of the order of 50% of the area of the adjacent images then ‘planar motion’ style stitching options are more easily attainable using software such as Microsoft ICE, as opposed to ‘rotational stitching’ (which gives a more cylindrically distorted view of the scene).  A cheaper option than a dedicated medium format ‘6x6’ camera for sure, especially if you want one with a digital back!




('Aune Legacy' – this image consisted of three greatly overlapping frames in ‘portrait format’)




The reflected polar panoramas, a.k.a.’ Little Planets’ I make on occasions also result in square format images. They have a pleasing balance to them and in being square there is only 'graceful space’ around the subject.




('The Little Planet of the Twilight' - a long exposure imaged, then 'mirrored' and converted to a 'polar panorama' in Photoshop CS2)




Some long exposure & panned ‘Intentional camera Movement’ or ‘drag landscape’ images can again work well in this format. Their edgy abstract nature contained within the elegant square.



('Nebulous Nocturne' -  the last remnants of post sunset colour in the skies above Hope's Nose in Torbay, from Goodrington sands. This was cropped from a 3:2 format photo)




Why not have a go youself? As Huey Lewis once sang, "it's hip to be square!"









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